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Old 05-17-2013, 06:33 PM   #1
koland
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Gift Cards .. What can Kobo possibly be thinking?

I first saw this mentioned over in the Romance bargains thread (deals forum), but wanted to mention it here, too, in hopes that Kobo will see it and try to explain their reasoning: You can no longer buy gift cards for Kobo online.

Which means many of us can no longer get them at all or, at least, not easily (or without a considerable added expense), as you must find a local retailer to purchase them. Since buying for a non-US company is such a pain for those in the US (my credit card companies either block all purchase from them or allow them only after activating a fraud alert on the card, requiring a phone call on each purchase and if you miss it, the card gets blocked until it is cleared). Sure, Paypal is an option ... but that is tied to the same credit cards, so it doesn't really help. Not to mention, what a pain it is to have all those tiny charges to wade thru on a statement (and it must cost Kobo more, too, as they have a transaction charge each time, instead of only once).

For many, you also get hit with money exchange fees with each card hit, so the gift cards were highly favored by all (and many countries have zero access to physical gift cards, so those guys are left entirely in the cold).

So, to Kobo: What were you thinking? Sure, you might drive a half-dozen people to find an indie bookstore (the ones participating are few and far between; in a city in the top 100 in the states, there is only one here and it requires a trip downtown and paying for parking, which means I and no one else here will shop there soon, at least not to get a gift card to use online). The other choices seem to be Fry's and BestBuy and both (rightfully so) don't back third party gift card purchases (otherwise, "everyone" would be buying, using, then returning them). I don't buy any gift cards from third parties and always recommend others to do the same. There is little benefit (just buy from the actual store, where you are often rewarded with a bonus card, too) and too much risk (used codes, counterfeit cards, etc) and no protection (from the store or otherwise).

Unless Kobo simply wants to lose all their online only customers (an odd choice, for an online only store), this seems to be simply another case of a company shooting themselves in the foot. I mean, those indie stores can always sell cards to their existing customers and this won't drive any new ones in; instead, it will just drive away customers that had been shopping at Kobo in the past.

In the meantime - get someone to just comment out ALL the text on your "eGift" page, since no one can actually get such a thing, anymore (let alone send it). Instead, you are now in the "Gift Card" business and in a pain the rear method of redemption one, at that.
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:44 PM   #2
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:45 PM   #3
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When Kobo first opened both of my credit cards used to charge me a foreign transaction fee and show up as possible fraud so I'd get the phone call.

Even though that no longer happens, I loved being able to buy an egift card for myself and use that to make my purchases at Kobo since they do not have the cart option and books have to be purchased separately.

It’s not like Kobo has stopped allowing credit card purchases. And since they plan to still allow physical gift cards to be used it is not they are discontinuing maintaining the gift card balances. So why not still allow actual “e” gift cards? This makes no sense to me.

I like Kobo. I love their coupon codes. Why make it more difficult for me to shop there?
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
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Uhm, there are no transaction / exchange fees. Maybe there used to be, but not any more.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:48 PM   #5
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Some credit cards from some US banks have foreign transaction fees. There is a listing here: http://www.cardratings.com/foreign-t...rvey-0712.html of some of the US cards that do not. It is not a Kobo charge.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:00 PM   #6
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Some credit cards from some US banks have foreign transaction fees. There is a listing here: http://www.cardratings.com/foreign-t...rvey-0712.html of some of the US cards that do not. It is not a Kobo charge.
My Card still charges those fees even if I use Paypal.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:11 PM   #7
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I used Paypal since I have an Amex. It does seem strange not to have egift cards. I wonder if people were defrauding Kobo.
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:37 AM   #8
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There are no fees, transaction or exchange, because the charges come from Kobo US.

I understand from previous threads this is a change from how things began, I can't comment on when it changed, but this is how it has always been in the short time, less than one year, that I have been a customer.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:58 AM   #9
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Well, it looks like I'll be buying ebooks elsewhere from now on. Kobo do not seem to want their customers and are making ebook purchases more and more difficult.

For UK buyers it is even more ridiculous that the cards are only being sold in Asda, Dixons and Sainsburys. This is very strange - Dixons were taken over by Currys some time ago and what happened to the 'partnership' with WH Smith? That's the one place I would have expected the gift cards to be available.
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Witty Username View Post
Well, it looks like I'll be buying ebooks elsewhere from now on. Kobo do not seem to want their customers and are making ebook purchases more and more difficult.

For UK buyers it is even more ridiculous that the cards are only being sold in Asda, Dixons and Sainsburys. This is very strange - Dixons were taken over by Currys some time ago and what happened to the 'partnership' with WH Smith? That's the one place I would have expected the gift cards to be available.
Kobo gift cards are available online from WHSmith: http://www.whsmith.co.uk/GiftCardPro...card++36443468
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:53 AM   #11
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Kobo gift cards are available online from WHSmith: http://www.whsmith.co.uk/GiftCardPro...card++36443468
I saw that but:

1) not mentioned on the Kobo website.

2) It isn't an e-card so if I buy a £10 gift card, I will pay a minimum of £2.99 for it to be posted to me. Free postage for £15 or more, but I will still be waiting three to five days for the card to arrive.

3) these cards expire 12 months after purchase and can be lost or stolen so any remaining balance forfeited.

Not really ideal when the great advantage of an ereader is buying new books almost instantly anywhere, anytime, anyplace. (oh, wait- that's martini )
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:25 PM   #12
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I just tried to send a book as a gift (using the "Send as gift" button) and it didn't work, it just takes me to the gift card page. It worked the last time I tried, a few weeks ago. I hope this is just a temporary problem and they are not doing away with sending books as gifts.

I wonder if this could be related to the gift card changes, as it was possible to send someone a gift of store credit (effectively a gift card) just by gifting them any old book, and they could choose to decline the gift and accept store credit instead.

Last edited by GeoffR; 05-18-2013 at 02:26 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:33 AM   #13
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I just sent an email to Customer Service.
Probably wasted time but if we don't complain then there is NO chance of a change.

I too will probably reduce my spending on the Kobo site if they don't return eGifts.

Larry

PS. I looked at the help and there are still help topics for eGift cards and eGifting books???

Last edited by larrymohr; 05-19-2013 at 05:35 AM. Reason: added infor
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:10 AM   #14
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I sent an email to Kobo about the sudden loss of egift cards and got this reply:

Quote:
Thank you for contacting Kobo Customer Care. Unfortunately,we are not offering this service at the present time. You can purchase physical gift cards at participating retailers please check the “Buy gift cards in store” link for locations.

We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you. Should you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,
The Kobo Team
Not very informative and no reason to think that this might only be temporary.

Well, goodbye Kobo, that's me done with using your store to buy ebooks.
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:00 PM   #15
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The various posts on their twitter feed seem to suggest it's temporary.

https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/332145240855154688
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/332157644011876354
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/332528189203177474
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/334397906696163328
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/334456782405644288
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/334760222428123138
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/334792674907410432
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/335419063910166528
https://twitter.com/KoboHelp/status/335492451856969728

As you can see, they even suggested it would be back on the 10th once. I don't know if this was a mistake or they really were expecting it to be back but it was more difficult then they expected (either way they should have stuck with the 'we don't have an ETA' line in retrospect). Considering the number of twitter posts they've had about it, I doubt they know know it's in a fair amount of demand although I guess there's no harm emailing them just to reaffirm the point.

Last edited by Nil Einne; 05-19-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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